Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Winter Garden

We had a very fruitful summer in our garden this year. We grew herbs and runner beans - and in my post The Thrifty Gardener I've blogged about how we have actually managed to save ourselves quite a bit of money by growing our own fruit and veg. Now Autumn is nearly over and our garden is looking a bit sorry for itself so I've been busy reading up on how to look after your garden in the Winter

Bulb Planting
It's not too late to plant bulbs for the spring but try to get them in the ground before the first real frosts start.  Tulips and hyacinths will thrive if you plant them now. I love bulbs because when I plant them I can look forward to the Spring ahead, they are also pretty hardy and don't need much work. Bulb planting is a great idea to do with the children as it's easy and teaches them about the natural world - they get very excited to see the first green shoots coming through in the spring. You could even try painting a plain terracotta pot like some of these on my garden pinterest board

Use Up Any Leftover Vegetables
You may still have some veg coming through so use them up by making a tasty chutney. This preserves the veg and makes a great Christmas present too. Here is a recipe for runner bean chutney but it can work well for different vegetables too. If you grew pumpkins for Halloween then put them to use by making a delicious pumpkin soup. A great tip for storing the last of your summer herb garden is to chop and freeze the herbs in ice cubes - you can then just throw these into a casserole or pie when you are cooking to get the flavour and aromas of fresh herbs again.

Make Sure Delicate Plants Are Protected
If you have any delicate garden plants you may want to protect them over the winter - particularly if you live in a very cold or windswept area. If you don't have the space for a large greenhouse it can be well worth getting a mini greenhouse such as these from the online garden centre Two Wests. They are small enough to fit on your patio and provide vital protection from the frost and cold.

Clear Away The Leaves
We are lucky to have lots of beautiful trees in our garden but the downside is that the garden tends to get covered in a patchwork of leaves in the Autumn. Whilst these look very pretty at first then soon get very soggy and so make sure you clear them away to help your grass stay looking good.

Don't Forget The Animals
Winter is a hard time for garden animals as the weather is colder and food is scarce. We recently made some homemade birdfeeders and you could also create a nature garden by setting up an area with some logs and upturned pots for animals to hide under and shelter in.

Put Your Feet Up!
Make the most of your time off from the gardening to plan your garden for the year ahead. I love the gardening books by Alan Titchmarsh - you can find the whole series at

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